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Astros' Jose Altuve Confirms He'll Play for Venezuela in 2023 World Baseball Classic

Doric SamAugust 17, 2022

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Houston Astros shortstop Jose Altuve confirmed to reporters on Wednesday that he will play for Team Venezuela in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

Altuve last represented his native country in the World Baseball Classic in 2017, with the team finishing in eighth place.

Altuve has been a steady bat in Houston's lineup this season. The 32-year-old is slashing .280/.369/.507 with 20 home runs and 42 RBI through 101 games. He leads the Astros with 106 hits, earning his eighth career All-Star selection this year.

A 12-year veteran, Altuve helped lead Houston to a World Series championship and three pennants over a five-year stretch. The three-time American League batting champion has been the face of the Astros franchise since he was called up to the majors in 2011.

Per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle, Astros first base coach Omar Lopez has been announced as the manager for Team Venezuela. The 2023 WBC is set to begin pool play on March 8, and Venezuela's pool reportedly includes teams from Puerto Rico, Israel and the Dominican Republic.

Rome noted that Astros starting pitcher Luis Garcia, who is Venezuelan, is also a possibility to play under Lopez in the WBC.

The 2023 WBC was originally supposed to take place in 2021 but was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The field for the tournament was expanded to 20 teams, with the 16 teams that participated in the 2017 WBC earning automatic qualifiers plus four additional teams.

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